Sermons

Summary: 1. Look at the city of Sardis 2. Look at the Church in Sardis 3. The Remedy 4. What about OUR Church?

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October 12, 2003

Title: Sardis

Text: Rev. 3:1-6

Introduction

1. Jesus is walking amongst the lampstands...

sometimes He sees churches (people) who are faced with persecution...

and faced with spiritual battles...

and in spite of all the struggle...

they have remained faithful..

and they need great encouragement.

2. Other times, He sees churches (people) who

perhaps they haven’t faced great persecution...

or if they have...they didn’t remain faithful...

perhaps things have been just going along fine...

but for whatever reason...

the church begins to die...

and before long the church is on its last legs.

3. The Church in Sardis has been called a spiritually dead church...

there are no glowing compliments...

no commendations from He Who walks among the lampstands...

just dire warnings that the church is in cardiac arrest...

and requires emergency life support.

4. Let’s read about it in our text: Rev. 3:1-6

Body

1. First of all, let’s look at The City (pics from www.holylandphotos.com)

Pic 1: View looking east from the west end of the synagogue. This reconstructed synagogue was the fourth structure to stand on this site. This large hall (197 ft. [60 m.] by 59 ft. [18 m.]) faces east, towards Jerusalem. At the far (east) end note the three doors and the two gabled "arks." In the foreground is a marble table flanked on each side by lions. Note the mosaic "carpet" which covered the floor of this large hall. It has been estimated that it could house 1,000 people – a very large building indeed. Over 80 Jewish inscriptions have been found in the excavations – mainly in Greek! Recent analysis of the finds suggest that the synagogue may date to the 6th Century AD.

Pic 2: This is the front court area of the synagogue. This court was surrounded on all four sides by covered porticos. In the center is a sculpted vase and a shallow pool. Directly in the center of the picture is the main entrance to the synagogue. The triangular shapes to the left and right of it are the covering of the "arks"

Pic 3: Another view of the synagogue. The function of the table is unknown although some have suggested the Torah scroll was placed here for reading. Also note the pair of lions that flank the table and the fine mosaic floor. It has been suggested that they date to the sixth century B.C.(!) and were originally included in a temple of the goddess Cybele. (sib’ uh lee) Here they are reused and may have been thought of as the "lion of Judah." In the upper right portion of the image three levels of seating of the beginning of a marble apse are visible as is an additional entrance to the synagogue.

Pic 4: Here is a statue of the goddess Cybele She was the goddess of fertility and was attended by lions — note the lions on both the right and left sides of her throne. Adopted by the Romans, her cult spread throughout the Roman Empire. Note the Greek inscription at the base of the image. The worship of Cybele was thought to include wild and frenzied movements.

Pic 5: View looking east at one of the two arks that are located at the east end of the main room of the synagogue. It has been suggested that Torah scrolls and other biblical manuscripts were stored here on the "Jerusalem Wall" of the synagogue.

Pic 6: View looking west. In the foreground are the remains of columns, which lined the northern portico of the Palaestra. The Palaestra was used for wrestling and athletic training. The large building at the back of the phote is the façade of the entrance to the Gymnasium complex – sometimes called the "Marble Hall."

Pic 7: Gymnasium

Pic #8: Gymnasium Pool

Pic #9: Public Latrine: Notice the stone seats, which are affixed to the far wall. Under them water ran in a trough to carry away waste. In front of them, on the floor, notice the groove. It has been suggested that water ran in the groove and was used to wash the "sponge on a stick," which was used in place of toilet paper.

PIc #10: Temple of Artemis: View looking west at the remains of the temple of Artemis. This temple was the fourth largest temple in the ancient world. In the lower left portion of the picture, note the rounded red brick building. These are the remains of a small, Byzantine church (400 AD?). The goddess Artemis was known as the "Mistress of Animals" and the protector of children, but she was also a hunter and could bring death with her arrows. Artemis was the daughter of Leto and Zeus (the ruler of the Greek gods).And Together with her twin brother Apollo she enjoyed the status and privileges of an Olympian. And as an Olympian goddess, Artemis was free to pursue her interests, and was often found frolicking in the forests, accompanied by a band of nymphs. (spirits of the trees and other things in nature)

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